Research Study Identifies a High-Risk Group of Women Who May Be Victims of Sexual Abuse

Audrey Saftlas, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, is the lead author of a new study that finds that women who are patients at clinics where abortions are performed are seven times as likely to have been victims of sexual abuse that women generally. The survey of clinic patients found that 14 percent of all women seeking abortions reported that they were victims of sexual abuse at least one time over the 12 months prior to their visit to the clinic.

Professor Saftlas stated, “Women seeking terminations of pregnancy comprise a particularly high-risk group for physical or sexual abuse. These findings strongly support the need for clinic-base screening with interventions.”

Dr. Saftlas added, “These high-risk women need resources, referrals, and support to help them and their families reduce the violence in their lives.”

Professor Saftlas has been on the faculty at the University of Iowa since 1998. She is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she majored in biology. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The study was published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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